Grin and Bear It

May 29, 2014

 

Grin and Bear itToday I learned: “Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Grin and Bear It”

This morning as I was brushing my teeth with my electric tooth brush I saw the freebie one the dentist had given me a couple weeks ago. It reminded me of my dental appointment which in turn made me think of Allie and Simon’s dental appointment just the other day.

Mine went a little like this:
I laid in the chair, mouth agape doing my best to answer the hygienist’s prodding questions about my personal life as she flossed my teeth. And then it came…the oh so stereotypical hygienist question. “How often do you floss?” In a panic I started to wonder if she could actually tell I missed a day here and there since my last visit, maybe last Tuesday? Oh gosh… my mind started racing… Can she really tell I missed flossing last Tuesday?? I gave her a cool and collected “I try to floss daily.” Her judgmental and cynical gaze told me she not only knew about last Tuesday, she was convinced I had never even heard of dental floss. I slouched as far into the chair as I could as she continued to floss deep into my gums and gouge me with a sharp metal pick from hell. I saw blood splatter.

Theirs went like this:
A sweet hygienist came and escorted my children to a special area to have their teeth examined and cleaned. Their room was filled with colorful pictures, books, and a train track. A while later I was called in to speak with the dentist. The dentist told me Allie’s teeth were great! She even had her 12 year old molar coming in. Simon had one itty bitty cavity, but otherwise looked good. Wait…no mention of flossing or brushing? I remind my kids at least 10 times morning and night to brush their teeth. I think they actually brush them once a week, when I happen to be looking. And when they do brush…I think it is just one tooth for a maximum of 5 seconds. Flossing? Ha! I practically have to restrain them to get them to floss.  Did I mention the hygienist gave them a prize too?? UGH! I totally didn’t get one.

The lesson my children taught me this week is that, life is fair. It is. It does not discriminate or judge. It treats everyone the same. Which makes it absolutely UNFAIR at times… to everyone, even me. I don’t plan on giving up flossing, and I don’t plan on giving up the other things in life that seem to be tough or lacking the rewards I expect them to have. Sometimes, its best just to grin and bear it…or maybe just grin.

Thanks Allie and Simon, you are so smart.

-Stupid Mom

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Good Morning, Tuesday

Today I learned: Carpe Diem. Sieze the day.Happy Tuesday

This morning I tip-toed around the house in my usual manner.  Finishing up my own morning routine,  gathering school snacks for the kids, letting the dog out etc.   I then heard a giggle come from my daughters room.  Tony? Is that you?  Yes,  indeed it sure was.  I went in and greeted him good morning and out of her bed he crawled.  I quietly snuck into his room as to not awake his sleeping brother,  he had another good 15 of sleep time.   I have previously found that waking a sleeping bear is a dangerous venture.

To my surprise I saw a shadow sitting upright on the bed.  I squinted my eyes as they adjusted and focused in the dark of the early morning. Yes,  my suspicions were confirmed.  Both of my boys were awake!  I greeted Simon with a cheery “Good Morning!”

Instead of the usual grunts and groans that come with a bear who recently awakened from a deep slumber,  this morning the response was different.  My cheery greeting was reciprocated with a greeting with as much enthusiasm and positivity, if not more, than my own.  “Mommy!  Is it Morning??”

“Yes,  baby,  it is!”

He followed my affirmation of the new day with the kind of cheek-to-cheek grin that only my Simon can wear.

Was it his birthday? No, that was not for another 6 days.  Was it a field trip at school? Nope.  Special plans for a family dinner out? Nope.  Movie night? Nope.  In fact, it was just Tuesday.  Nothing planned at all. No playdates, no trips, and no amusements of any kind.  So what could have my son so chipper and happy this Tuesday morning?

It was simply a new day.  A new day greeted him and in his not-quite-six-year-old mind he could see that today held a world of possibilities, opportunities ,and fun not yet planned.  Today was Tuesday afterall, and he could use the next 24 hours imagining and creating all sorts of new wonders.

Simon reminded me that every day begins with a morning.  Every day that includes excitements, surprises, new possibilities, raises, opportunities, promotions, smiles, laughter with a  friend, the best lunch of my life, and the most miraculous brainstorm EVER, begins with a  morning.  Whether it is because of me, happens to me, or is even in spite of me…Every new and wonderful thing in any given day happens as a result of waking up in the morning.   Mornings are truly the time to realize I begin again, with 24 hours of uncharted, unbridled, uninhibited possibilities.  All of it is waiting for me to go find it and seize it.. and own it.  JUST Tuesday?  I don’t think “JUST” Tuesday can exist after today…

Good Morning, World!  Here “I am”!

Thank you Simon – You are so smart.

–Stupid Mom

Golden (pink, red, and orange) Opportunities

3/11/2013

 

 Sunrise on a roadToday I learned: The beauty of opportunity is in front of me, not behind me.

It was my first day on a new job.  I was really excited.  Mostly I was happy to be leaving behind the pains of my last position. Previously,  I had ventured down a path against the advice of many, leaving behind a company I was fanatic about, and to my disappointment,  with a very negative ending. The hurt of betrayal and the loss of family over what seemed to be nothing more than greed and fear, left me ready to take on something new; and today was my day.

Two of my children experts were staying with Grandma for spring break, so I only had to contend with the hustle and bustle of one small person .  I got up early enough, and while I went through the usual routine of scurrying him along, we had left in plenty of time to get to daycare and then for me to get to my new adventure on time.

I was lost in my own thoughts along the way…Of what was to be,  and mostly what had been.  Again, I was happy to be driving away from the past.  And the career awaiting me seemed to hold an array of new possibilities.  I was daydreaming.

I was snapped back to reality when a tiny voice behind me said,  “Look mommy, the sky is beautiful.”

Now, the sun had been up for what seemed like ages to me.  My initial thought and response was “oh, yes sweetie. Very nice.”

Then I looked again, just by chance really. Or maybe because I found his choice of words odd and out of character for him.  This time I looked further into the distance.

Far on the horizon, just where the sky met the land, there was still a small window of opportunity for anyone who had the foresight to still catch a glimpse of the morning sunrise in all its glory.  It was more than beautiful, it was breathtaking; orange and yellow, pink and reds.  Magical.

This morning, my son showed me running from pain is never as wonderful as looking ahead and running to gain.  With blinders on, I couldn’t see past the end of my nose, and had he not been there to point it out I may have never looked into the distance.   I would have been stuck only seeing an ordinary blue sky and missed the extraordinary morning sunrise.  Even more so, as I watched it fade and blend into a pale blue I realized that those opportunities can so quickly pass me by; so I ought to pay attention right now to all I have to gain while  the opportunity is there in front of me.  Here is to looking forward into the sunrise, where all the new possibilities and opportunities exist..and there is everything to gain.

Thanks Pepperoni, you are so smart.

 

–Stupid Mom

 

 

Hello (Kitty) Cowboy

The Hello Kitty Cowboy

The Hello Kitty Cowboy

Today I learned:  Having imagination is more powerful than having knowledge

I always compare my youngest son to a grown man stuck in a child’s body.  Not just any man, but a really big, strong body building man.  It’s his perception of himself and it is what he exudes in every fiber of his being.  It is what he sees and so others see it too, including me.

Today I got to experience why he can portray such an incredible spirit.  He has an amazing sense of imagination.   Dressed in his sister’s pink Hello Kitty hat and a pair of her Barbie galoshes, he moseyed up to me like he had been riding a horse for his entire life (or the length of Clint Eastwood’s entire life).  He looked fiercely at the ground, slugged me in the shoulder and in the lowest voice he could muster short of an Adam’s apple and said, “I’m a cowboy.”

I believed him and I did not question his radical attire for cowboy.  He had a hat.  He had boots.  He had a bull-legged walk and a gruff voice.  He certainly punched like a cowboy.  Who was I to argue?

That is the power of imagination.  In fact, Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  That is because we are limited by our knowledge.  However, our imagination is limitless as it includes everything we know and everything we don’t know.    A strong imagination allows us to see past what is possible or impossible.  Of course, than it can become a looking glass for our true potential.

So, I don’t know that Anthony will ever really become a cowboy.  However, I appreciate that his lack of understanding of what a cowboy’s true roles and responsibilities are or even that they probably don’t adorn their heads with pink Hello Kitty hats doesn’t stop him from imagining. In fact, those details don’t even matter.  So, as I embark on a new adventures of the unknown, I will keep in mind that I don’t need to rely on what I know, because I am limited by that; but I can use my imagination to form the reality I desire.  The unknown is always unknown until it is explored, and the only way to explore it is to open up my mind past what is logical.

Thank you Cowboy Tony – You are so smart.

 

 

–Stupid Mom

 

 

 

 

The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon

…sometimes getting lost in the details slows down the process in getting to what really matters.  It is good to be organized, but it not a place to dwell.

…Sometimes getting lost in the details slows down the process in getting to what really matters. It is good to be organized, but it not a place to dwell.

Today I learned:  “Step-Outside of the status quo to speed up results”

I am very organized.  I know EXACTLY what is in my pile of dirty laundry.  I know EXACTLY what is in my pile of clean laundry.  I know that I can immediately walk to the laundry room and grab my pink sweater, which is buried, below my unfolded whites.  I know that it is laying the long way, top to the left-hand side.  I know I have a pair of jeans on my closet floor that I only wore for two hours that I could wear again, and I know there is nothing spilled on them.

My children did not teach my organizational strategy to me, rather it was taught to me by my mother.   She referred to this systematic method of organization as “stack organization.”  There are many benefits to this seemingly unorganized style of organization…All of which I seemed to have started to forget as I became much more diligent in my cleaning and organizing efforts at home.

While I still have placed value in “stack organization” in many areas (such as my laundry), there are some places that I have become almost anal retentive in more traditional forms of organization.  My kitchen cupboards for example, are one area that I have become an organizational traditionalist.  Everything goes in its place, exactly.  That is to say that my Tupperware is all stacked in specific ways, my cups go in specific spots, and some spoons go in one spot while others go somewhere else.  A certain set of bowls go on one side while another set goes on the other side.  I like to consider this a sign that I am a grown up.

Until today. When I realized once again, I have so much to learn from my children about being a grown up.

Today I decided that my daughter is old enough to start helping out more.  I had some errands to run and there was no reason why she could not put away the dishes from the dishwasher while I was out.  She groaned at the idea of having to come inside from her playtime to do such a task.  I left as she rolled her eyes at me.

When I returned, I found that “stack organization” runs in the family.  Although,  “stack organization” did not mean in the way she stacked the Tupperware.  In this case, it was definitely in the manner of which my mother taught me.  I found (and will continue to find, I am sure) things in the strangest spots.  After seeing this, I am now sure she never opened a cupboard in our kitchen prior to this event.   Then I saw her outside playing.  It immediately dawned on me what had happened.

One of the greatest benefits to “stack organization” is that it speeds up the transaction to get to an outcome a lot faster.  Her outcome was not a traditionally organized kitchen.  Her outcome was to put things away so she could go outside and continue to play.

What I learned from this made me smile as plucked a bowl from the utensil drawer…sometimes getting lost in the details slows down the process in getting to what really matters.  It is good to be organized, but it not a place to dwell.  When there are more important things calling, it is ok to let go of the details and use some of my mom’s famous “stack organizational” tactics.  Additionally, it also ok to step away from the status quo of what EVERYONE else is doing and come up with a system that works for me.   (And not everything has to be practical…some of the most brilliant plans ever created had impractical beginnings)

Thank you Allie – You are so smart.

–Stupid Mom

Falling in Friendship with a Stranger

February 12, 2013

Today I learned: “The value of friendship”

Teddy Bear

Friendship is a Choice that is Worth the Time.

I always believed that peace begins in the home.  If there is not peace in the home, it won’t be in our communities, our society, or our world.  It must start at home.  I know this.  My children didn’t have to teach me that (although sometimes they remind me that getting really really mad won’t get me to that outcome).

But today Anthony taught me a great lesson on friendship and love.  Seeing as Valentine’s Day is just two days away (as I write this), it seems a timely lesson – A lesson that also fits with my focus of peace.

This story actually starts at the end; because it wasn’t until the end that I realized what I had already learned in the beginning.

We ended up at McDonald’s.  I was getting the food while Anthony immediately ran for the playroom.  He brought ice cream because…well, sometimes eating ice cream first is important (a lesson for another time).  When I came into the playroom, he had his ice cream stick (think “fudge pop”) wrapped in napkins to keep from dripping.  A great idea.  A brilliant idea.  However, not an idea I had thought of.  When I asked him where he got the little bundle containing the drips, he pointed to a woman and said: “she gave them to me,  Mommy.” And I thought that was nice and smiled at the other woman.

Not too long after he had pointed out the kind (and brilliant) woman who gave him the ice-cream stick swaddle, it was time for them to leave.  He waved to the boy that was leaving with her and yelled “Bye, Friend!!”

Friend.  A boy he had met 5 minutes earlier.  And he meant it, he meant “friend.”  It was authentic and pure, and he really felt friendship for this boy.  I could tell by his voice, it was not a flippant remark at all.  It was purposeful and meaningful,  this boy who had no name was indeed Anthony’s friend.

He immediately picked up a new game with a new friend until it was time to go.  Again, he played with this boy and treated the stranger as a real friend.  He showed him respect.  He treated him with kindness. And he wished him a good day when they parted ways. He didn’t do this to be polite.  He didn’t do this because it was the “right thing to do”.  He treated this stranger as a real friend because…well, he was.

As we were leaving, he picked up his teddy bear.  It was the same one that had joined us on our entire day’s journey.  It was the same teddy bear that I buckled in the seat belt next to Anthony. The same bear that I gave kisses to and promised to buy a treat to if he was well behaved.  The same bear I asked to guard the car while we went into the store.  And this bear…was Anthony’s friend.  He loved him.  Full of stuffing, unable to reciprocate…Anthony loved him anyway.  Because he chose to, and for no other reason.

Which brings me back to the first stop of the day – before McDonald’s, before ice cream, and before a teddy bear guard.  I had to go to the Girl Scout store for my daughter.  It was a quite a drive, but I knew exactly what I needed for her uniform and I could be in and out within 5 minutes, so I didn’t mind having to make the trek out to the store.  After being guided back into a room that served as a store, I instantly found what I was looking for.  Little did I know that I would spend and hour at the register of the store getting to know the 75 year old man operating it.  He has a Grandson named Anthony, like my son.  He has coached baseball, among other sports. Although his “ticker” prevents him from doing that now, he happily occupies the bleachers to cheer on his grandchildren in all their sporting events.  He has been working with children for 48 years.  His wife ran an in-home daycare, certified by the State of Texas.  They fostered children in addition to raising their own. He was never a Boy Scout himself, but he volunteered to help them and was commended by the troop for his service to the scouts when he graduated from high school (it was many years ago he told me with a smile).  I know a lot about him.  Incidentally, he knows a lot about me too as I opened up and shared my own stories.  But despite seeing his name badge, and despite him seeing my credit card…we left each other not really even knowing each other’s name.  Just the same, for that hour we were nothing short of…friends.

So…

As we were leaving McDonald’s and I watched Anthony hug his bear after saying goodbye to his friend… I reflected back at the man at the Girl Scout store. Imagine if I keep that lesson long enough to treat all strangers with the same kind of love that Anthony taught me is possible?  I would be a lot closer to that outcome of peace… and there would be a lot more love in my world.  That’s worth making time for.

Thank you, Pepperoni – You are so smart.

–Stupid Mom

Life’s Lightweight Champion

AJ Rock Climbing

Physical Strength is Just One of Many of Tony’s Characteristics

Today I learned:Big things come in small packages.

Without further ado, it is my great honor to introduce the newest and youngest member of my core learning team: Anthony 

  • Current Age: 4
  • Aliases: AJ, Tony, Tony Bologna, Tony Bologna Pepperoni, Bologna, Pepperoni, My Bologna has a First Name, Nerd Bucket
  • Favorite Superheroes: Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man
  • Future Career: Spiderman

Anthony has a really tough-guy exterior.  If you saw his bulging biceps (almost as big as a spaghetti noodle…a wet one), you would understand.  But behind his rough and tumble shell, is this soft and gentle boy.  He will give up his candy, his favorite toy, or even his lunch for the people he loves.  I have never seen someone so young be so full of a sharing spirit.  He shows me everyday how to be more loving and teaches me that giving of myself doesn’t mean I lose myself.  I too can share and be kind.

And it takes a tough guy to be able to so easily  give.  He is never afraid of being considered weak or small because he knows it’s just not true.  When Anthony walks he is 6 feet tall and 275.  That is whom he sees, and because he believes in himself it’s what others see too.  Emotional strength and confidence is something I can learn a lot about from him.

Because he is so strong inside and out, he is comfortable teaching lessons on love too.  When someone needs comforting, a friend, a hug, or a kiss he is always there.  In fact, he is so loving that he is also not afraid to ask for those things when he needs them for himself.  It’s this love that can snap me from anger and frustration back to the basics…love.

Anthony equals EXCITEMENT.  He greets everyone with enthusiasm and happiness every time he sees them.  Coming home to Anthony (even after a quick trip to the store) is like seeing a dear friend after many years apart.  This excitement is all around him, and he is quick to share in the excitement of others too.  Sometimes he has more enthusiasm for others than they even have for themselves.  It’s such a great lesson on how to be a positive force in the lives of others – some people need that “permission” to get excited.  He teaches me how to be that “permission” for others in my life.

Tony with Chocolate Milk

Anthony is down to only 1-2 Chocolate Milks a Day

But even the most loving, exciting, strong, giving people have vices; it’s what makes us human.  Anthony has shown me that perfection is found in imperfections and flaws…because that is a part of who we (I) be, and who we really are… IS perfect (there is nothing wrong or broken).  His chocolate milk addiction began early…I blame myself for driving him to drink; although I know its not fair because I didn’t know he would become so dependent.  I have fostered and cared for him, and with his own strength combined with my firmness, I am happy to say he is now down to one or two cups most days.   We aren’t perfect, I have my flaws too…but Anthony has taught me that whether it a weight struggle, messiness, or temporary bad attitude – I am still worthy of being loved.  And sometimes even I need someone to show me my blind spots and push me to make healthy changes for myself.

Thank You, Anthony – You are so smart.

–Stupid Mom